Digital Innovation New Publishing Tech
4 mins read

Q&A: Sportradar, leveraging sports data for publishers

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Headquartered in Switzerland, Sportradar employs 2,000 people in more than 30 locations worldwide. A global leader in understanding and leveraging the power of sports data and associated digital content for media companies (and others), Sportradar partners more than 1,000 companies in over 80 countries. WNIP caught up with Jonathan Earle, Customer Director of Sports Media at Sportradar to find out more…

Can you give us some background about your company?

Sportradar captures billions of data points from over 400,000 sports matches across 60 sports. We then package that data up for customers; whether they be bookmakers who are looking for audio visual feeds or federations, sports clubs and media clients looking to drive fan engagement and maximise their monetisation opportunities. We also have an Integrity Service team that is at the forefront of safeguarding the sports themselves.

We’re official partners of the NBA, NFL, NHL and NASCAR as well as FIFA and UEFA.

What business problem are you addressing?

It’s no secret that publishers are struggling to keep up in a rapidly evolving media landscape. With the FIFA obsessed gaming generation creating their own banter driven content and publishing directly to sites, as well as new entrants entering the market like Facebook, Instagram, Amazon, and Twitter, publishers are being attacked from all sides. In short, they’re unable to drive the traffic they need to their app or web pages to deliver advertising and sponsorship revenues.

To help, we have teamed up with a U.S. company called Arkadium who own a piece of software called InHabit. InHabit will read a publisher’s article in milli-seconds, understanding its context, the team or player and the sentiment and automatically insert a gamified, interactive widget (or ‘factive’) within the article.

These factives will increase the amount of time that a sports fan stays on the page, increasing the opportunities to drive targeted advertising or sponsorship plays. And if the publisher needs some help here, then we can provide it in the form of a bookmaker.

The factives are available for the English Premier League and Champions League, initially in four languages; English, Spanish, Italian, and German. We will be launching new sports,  languages, and leagues in the future. These factives support the US Sports factives that already exist for NBA, NFL, and MLB.

Can you give some examples of publishers successfully using your solution?

We only recently launched, however, as part of the test process, we promoted the factives through an Austrian publisher, and saw a fivefold increase in average click-through rates and multiple factives being consumed per session.

Although it’s a different market, in the US where Arkadium have been trading their factives for some time, they have experienced a 100% increase in session durations on publishers’ sites, up to 35% click-through rates and up to five minutes spent on a single factive.

Where this becomes interesting is that we now talk to publishers not about CPA’s and CPM’s but Cost per Engagement which is very different to many of their other conversations that they have.

The strength of our product set is that we have a series of products that can work together to help the publisher. As an example, if the publisher needs to increase their social media reach, then we have our newly launched GameBeats product that will drive traffic to the publisher’s web or mobile app. From there, we have factives that offer something unique for the sports fan and those factives coupled with our newly designed statistical widgets will keep the sports fan on the page for the longest possible time. Should the publisher need some help with their advertising, then we can also talk to them about our ad:s product that we launched at the beginning of January. A full, end-to-end solution.

What are the pricing details?

This service is unique and pricing is agreed on a per client, bespoke basis. I think it offers value for money but come and talk to me and tell me what you think!

How you do view the future?

Sports is evolving at a tremendous pace. Without sounding like my father, when I was a boy, there was little live sports to watch, boring pre-game programmes, limited statistics, poor stadia experiences, sports kit that used to itch and get very heavy when it rained and the most excitement would be listening to Radio 5 at 5pm to get the classified football results read by James Alexander Gordon.

Now it is pure entertainment. Sports are mainstream. Ronaldo has more followers than the population of some countries. Netflix is producing documentaries that give exclusive behind the scenes access to Sunderland (and no disrespect, but it’s Sunderland and it’s brilliant). Facebook, Amazon, Apple and Instagram are going big into sports and the new content is compelling and personalised.

Goals are available within seconds of being scored on social media platforms from matches played anywhere in the world and connected clothing exists allowing me to train like an ultra-Ironman. Sometimes we take these developments for granted!

The future is ultra-personalisation and about content that is accessible everywhere; shareable, editable and publishable. Our partnership with Arkadium is just the start, we are barely scratching the surface and with the sports data we have captured, it is only our imagination that will let us down.

Anything else we should know?

The video below gives a good overview of InHabit.

Many thanks for your time.

Photo by Tom Grimbert on Unsplash